Airbnb Cancellations: All Corona, Hold the Virus

In the middle of February I booked a trip, before this pandemic was announced. I booked an Airbnb with a strict no-refund policy: “refund applicable except the first 30 days.” My booking was for 34 days total.

Fast forward to the pandemic announcement and the panic that ensued by mostly everyone. Personally, I did not want to deal with self-quarantines, airport security measures, and quite frankly the risk of putting myself in a situation that could be avoided by simply not traveling so I proceeded to cancel my flights with no issues. I have cancellation insurance on my credit cards, so it was easily done.

Now the Airbnb host who happened to be from the same country as me but whose listing was in another one — pretty standard I’d think — said he would not refund my money due to a global pandemic. I read that and understood his rule, but he told me to contact Airbnb because they have some extenuating circumstances policy. I read something about an epidemic and being sick but documentation is needed: a doctor’s note or obituary when a global pandemic is announced.

I contacted Airbnb support via their magical robot, which had me wait 24 hours for a person, and proceeded to cancel my reservation. I thought I would be entitled to a refund due to a global pandemic, which to me fell into the “epidemic” category. Wrong. They said they needed documents such as a doctor’s note saying I was unfit for travel, not because it is in the public’s best interest to avoid crowded airports and in my case a crowded destination, with lesser health care, to avoid spreading COVID-19.

This was on March 9th. I continued to message Airbnb back and forth for the next couple days, eventually losing contact altogether because my messages became colourful.

Fast forward to March 14th. Airbnb announced (probably after most people panicked and cancelled reservations with certain cancellation policies in place) that anyone with a booking made before March 14th is entitled to a full refund via “manage my trips.”

Because I cancelled on March 9th and not March 14th I did not have this option anymore as my booking had already disappeared. I am now currently waiting for the same magic robot to let me know if I am entitled to any sort of refund, or if Airbnb plans on keeping my money altogether — which by reading some of these stories, would not shock me one bit. I have been waiting now 8 hours with only 16 left to see if I will get any money back .

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. I wish the refund would apply for all booking made before the 14th of March. It only applies if the check in date is 14th of April or earlier. My host in Barcelona rejected my refund request even though in Australia, we have been banned from travelling overseas indefinitely, and despite of the situation being completely out of control in Spain. Where is the compassion for people? I am completely disgusted and this is totally unfair to consumers.
    The extenuating circumstances policy at the time of booking should apply, not this policy that they have decided to tweak to only favour some bookings. Any bookings made before the 14th of March should be able to get a full refund.
    Totally ridiculous and unfair!! I will do whatever it takes to get my money back, and it’s not so much about the money, it’s about the principle.

  2. Not all bookings made before the 14th of March are covered though. Only bookings with check-in date 14th of April or earlier are covered. I made a reservation on the 1st of February in Barcelona, but with a later check-in date, and the host rejected my refund request, even though the situation in Spain is out of control. All bookings made before the pandemic was declared should be covered!
    In Australia we have been advised against all overseas travel indefinitely and this was still not a good enough reason to get a refund. This is totally unfair to consumers and it disgusts me. Even airlines are happy to provide vouchers for future,worth thousands of dollars, and Airbnb can’t do that for us, instead they tweak their policy to only favour some bookings. I will do whatever it takes to get my money back.I am seriously beyond angry and disappointed.

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